August 18, 2009

Older boomers more likely to binge drink

A recent survey found older boomers are drinking more than they should be. According to The National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 22 percent of boomer men reported drinking five or more drinks at a time in the last month. A slightly smaller percentage of boomer men engaged in "at-risk" drinking, defined as drinking two or more drinks per day, at 19 percent.

While only 9 percent of women between 50 and 64 engaged in binge drinking, 13 percent were considered "at-risk" drinkers. Women who abused prescription drugs also showed a tendency to binge.

Overall, binging was more prevalent among smokers and the wealthy.

Dan Blazer, M.D., Ph.D. and lead author on the study, pointed out that boomers are bringing on a potentially greater hazard as they carry drinking problems into old age. Boomers who continue to drink too much could be compounding other health problems associated with aging, as well as developing illnesses more directly associated with abusing alcohol, like stroke, cardiovascular disease, liver disease, neurological damage and poor diabetes control.

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